Many of us live and die on referrals. When you make a client happy, you’ll have an advocate who will gladly provide referrals for years to come, and s/he may even be inspired to promote your company, mortgage loan officer or other company rep on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Google or any number of other places. But, when you disappoint a client, the consequences can be problematic especially when it’s not an isolated incident.
The mortgage industry is unlike others where a consumer pays money in exchange for a product or service that typically comes with some sort of warranty or guarantee. In the mortgage industry, there are many moving parts involved with obtaining home financing, and there are an equal amount of emotions on the part of the applicant, hoping for an approval to purchase a home.
For this reason, many more interactions take place with the customer (or applicant) throughout the mortgage process. The better the overall experience, the greater the chance of making someone an advocate for your brand.
Aside from the obvious things you need to do, such as having a strong value proposition and properly differentiating your brand from your many competitors, you’ll also need to focus on building a culture of empathy, caring and service. Consider the following four ways you can turn your customers into your brand advocates:
- Hire seasoned, experienced and knowledgeable people who also have a high EQ (Emotional Intelligence/Empathy Quotient) score. Given the emotions involved in the many phases of the mortgage process, and the need to communicate unfortunate news to those who don’t get approved for financing, you’ll want the right people delivering the right messages the right way to your customers. Applicants approved for home financing are typically happy. However, when an applicant cannot be approved, you need to make sure s/he doesn’t have reason to be disgruntled with your company, and the conversation needs to be handled delicately to preserve your brand’s integrity.
- Become masters in the art of active listening. Email isn’t always the best tool to use when communicating with applicants. Sometimes, a phone conversation is more effective and efficient. For this reason, your people must consistently practice active listening skills. Active listening requires that the listener (your employees) fully concentrate and understand what is being said by the applicant, and then repeating it back to confirm their understanding of what is being said. Practicing this skill, even in times of stress or distraction, ensures that no information will fall through the cracks, and the applicant will appreciate it.
- Be easy to do business with. This includes everything from having a website that is easy to use and navigate during the application process, to setting up auto payments through the customer’s checking account, and all things in between. First time home buyers typically don’t understand all the different moving parts of the mortgage process, so the simpler you can make it for them, by explaining things along the way, the more they will appreciate your helpful nature. Technology is also helping to keep applicants up to date on their loan status through mobile apps, such as EasyMortgageApps.
- Ask customers to write a review. In sales, we are always taught to ask for a referral, a testimonial, or a recommendation on LinkedIn. If you’re confident that you delivered a positive experience, hand out a branded card with websites and links to sites where you would like a review to be submitted.
The secret to making your customers your brand advocates is being respectful, attentive and likable and of course doing a great job!